The holiday season can be a very stressful time, with organizing family gatherings and rushing to get shopping done in time. Needless to say, traveling can be especially stressful during this time with the high density of people trying to be home for Christmas. Unfortunately, due to a glitch in the scheduling system at American Airlines, nearly 15,000 flights were left without a pilot during the second half of December, one of the year’s busiest times. The company has made strides to reverse the damage, but still many passengers may find themselves with a canceled flight for Christmas.
The Scheduling Glitch at American Airlines
As one of the world’s leading Airlines, American expects to operate over 200,000 flights throughout the month of December, with December 17 to the 31st being one of the busiest times of the year. Unfortunately, the glitch allowed pilots and co-pilots to take vacation time during this period, leaving an estimated thousands of flights without a pilot. Typically, vacations are selected based on seniority and demand, so most requests during this time would normally be denied. Connections that had been affected by the scheduling mishap include major airports such as LaGaurdia in New York, Fort-Worth in Dallas, Chicago and Miami airport.
American Airlines Works Towards a Solution
The Airline has announced its intention to avoid cancelations by paying pilots overtime to work during the month. This quick decision has sparked a protest from the union for suggesting the plan without union input, which has been considered a violation of American Airline’s labor contract. The Airline initially stated that pilots working during these dates will be paid 150% of their usual pay, but by last Friday the negotiated amount jumped up to 200%. Fixing this error is estimated to cost the company nearly $10 million while the airline’s shares have dipped as well.
Megabus Steps up to the Rescue
Fortunately, megabus is helping people safeguard their holiday plans by offering free travel to passengers who have had their flights canceled as a result of the error. To claim a free bus trip, all a passenger needs to do is book their trip online along with proof that their flight via American Airlines was canceled. The offer is only available to passengers via email from December 14 to the 31st and comes with no extra conditions.
However, for some passengers, this might not be a possible alternative. People who are traveling across the country or whose destination is not covered by megabus may need to find an alternative means of transportation. This can be particularly trying as airline prices this time of year only get more expensive as the holidays draw nearer. Still, plenty of train and bus services, such as megabus and Greyhound, offer cheaper alternatives to make sure people get home for the holidays.